School of Pharmacy Celebrates the Class of 2016 at Convocation

More than 200 PharmD and graduate students receive degrees and embark on the next phase of their lives.

By Malissa Carroll
May 20, 2016

Family, friends, faculty, preceptors, and staff looked on with pride as the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s newest Doctors of Pharmacy walked across the stage to receive their doctoral hoods at the School’s annual convocation ceremony held at the Hilton Baltimore Hotel on May 20.

In her opening remarks, Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor of the School, highlighted all of the accomplishments that the Class of 2016 has achieved over the past four years. She commended graduates for their commitment to their pharmacy education, applauding them for seeking out additional opportunities such as dual degrees, pathways, and extracurricular activities, while progressing through the School’s rigorous PharmD curriculum.

“Today marks the beginning of a celebration of what is to come for each of you as members of one of the most rewarding professions – pharmacy,” she said. “As new practitioners, you have amazing opportunities in front of you. Choose to be innovators and creators. Challenge the status quo approach to health care in this country. Use your passion and your enthusiasm to drive the pharmacy profession to truly impact patient care in a more visible, sustainable manner focused on delivering positive health care outcomes.”

Brent Reed, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, FAHA, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the School, was chosen by the Class of 2016 as the keynote speaker for convocation in honor of his dedication to teaching, his willingness to assist students in their times of need, and his ability to challenge students both inside and outside of the classroom. In his speech, Reed offered what might be the biggest test yet to members of the graduating class.

“The most important obstacle facing pharmacy is not a unique one,” he said. “It is one that transcends professions, industries, and countries. It has been named a contributing factor to many of society’s most troubling issues, from income inequality to the opioid epidemic and from joblessness to the affordability and accessibility of health care. Our failure to resolve these issues shares a common theme: a crisis of leadership.”

Reed added, “Highlighting the challenge that awaits you once you walk across the stage may seem like an unusual choice for this address. However, having the opportunity to watch you grow over the last several years has reaffirmed my belief that no one is more capable of rising to overcome it than you. The first step is simple: to lead others, we must first lead ourselves. And, I have every confidence that you will.”

Jill Morgan, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, associate professor and chair of PPS; Paul Shapiro, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC); and Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, associate professor in PPS and associate dean for student affairs; joined Eddington in presenting graduates with their doctoral hoods to signify their completion of the highest professional degree in pharmacy.

“Donning the traditional olive colored pharmacy hood represents the fact that you have entered a caring profession that depends upon your proper use of scientific and clinical knowledge,” said Eddington. “You must care for your patients with compassion as well as intelligence. You will be trusted by patients – do not underestimate the importance of that trust, nor treat it lightly. You will have an impact on peoples’ lives.”

Following the School’s morning convocation ceremony, graduates assembled in the afternoon for a campus-wide graduation ceremony at the Royal Farms Arena, where Jay A. Perman, MD, president of UMB, delivered the keynote address. David Roffman, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, professor emeritus in PPS, served as an honorary University marshal during the ceremony, while Bruce Stuart, PhD, the Parke-Davis Chair in Geriatric Pharmacotherapy in PHSR and director of the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the School, served as an honorary faculty marshal.

Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, DFAPA, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Pfizer, was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the ceremony, for which she was nominated by the School of Pharmacy. Originally trained as a psychiatrist, Lewis-Hall is now a recognized leader in the areas of drug development and patient-centered outcomes research. She has held senior leadership positions with Vertex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia, and Lilly. In 2010, she was appointed to the inaugural Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Most recently, she was named one of Black Enterprise’s “Top 50 Women in Corporate America” and “Woman of the Year” by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.

“Patient-centeredness means putting patients at the heart of all we do in health care research and delivery, and through her work with both Pfizer and PCORI, Dr. Lewis-Hall has truly proven herself a leader in this field,” said Eddington. “We are pleased to call her a friend of the School of Pharmacy and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and believe that she is most deserving of this recognition.”

Ten students graduating from the School’s PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and PhD in PSC programs received their hoods during the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Graduate School ceremony on May 19. The MS in Regulatory Science program – an online program designed to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to drug and biologics regulation and pharmaceutical product lifestyles – hosted its first graduation convocation in Pharmacy Hall on May 19 to celebrate the more than 50 graduates who completed the program in 2015 and 2016. Students like Aziza Ahmed, MSc, traveled to Baltimore from many different locations around the world to attend the ceremony.

“Although the coursework was challenging at times, the lectures from experts in academia and industry, as well as the many group projects helped to foster a truly great learning experience,” said Ahmed, who traveled from Singapore to attend the ceremony. “I thank the faculty and staff, my group members, and my family for supporting me throughout this program. I know that the lessons that we learned over these past few years will serve us well as we continue to advance our careers in the ever-expanding field of regulatory science.”

The School’s MS in Pharmacometrics program also celebrated its third graduating class, which included 12 students.

To view more photos and video from this momentous occasion, please visit the School of Pharmacy’s Facebook page.

Class of 2016 Awards and Prizes:

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